Influencing Controlled Substance Prescribing: Attending and Resident Physician Use of a State Prescription Monitoring Program


  • Support/Disclosures: The authors report no financial support for this study and have no funding disclosures. IRB approval was obtained from the Biomedical Institutional Review Board.

Lance Feldman, MD, MBA, BSN, Department of Psychiatry, Penn State Hershey College of Medicine, Mail Code H073, 500 University Drive, Hershey, PA 17033, USA. Tel: 717-531-8338 (office); Fax: 717-531-6491; E-mail:


Objective.  The purpose of this study is to evaluate the influence of attending physician awareness and utilization of a state prescription monitoring program on resident physician behavior.

Design.  Twenty-five attending physicians and 70 residents in Emergency Medicine, Internal Medicine, Neurology, Pediatrics, and Psychiatry completed an 11-item questionnaire assessing awareness and utilization of a state prescription drug monitoring program.

Results.  Residents who used the system had, on average, a higher proportion of supervising attendings using the system; residents required to utilize the system had the highest proportion of attendings using the system. Overall, almost 90% of the physicians who utilized the system did so due to concerns surrounding prescription drug abuse. Over one third of attending physicians reported increasing the quantity or amount of medication prescribed after utilizing the system, while no residents reported similar outcomes.

Conclusions.  Through the behavioral influence of supervising attending physicians, residents were significantly more likely to utilize the system. If system utilization is desired, attendings should use the system and require resident participation.